Click image, all will be made clear,
including the correct interpretations
of Holy Scripture, and whom God
wants Americans to vote for.
including the correct interpretations
of Holy Scripture, and whom God
wants Americans to vote for.
The campaign for U.S. president is, quite frankly, making me sick, and for self-protection, I have been spending an unusual amount of time gamboling in the Realm of the Platonic Objects, and, when the Zeta Beam is working, hanging in my holiday condo near the Shoe Mirrors station on the Ciudad Vleeptron Underway, on Planet Vleeptron, in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy (not very far from here).
In other words, I have tried to do the absolute minimum of noticing and reading about Election Thing 2008, and have been positively repulsed by the idea of thinking about it and writing about it.
But it is, unfortunately, important. Whichever swinging dick gets the keys to the White House on 20 January 2009 will have enormous influence and impact on all the biota of the planet. If he really screws the pooch like the last guy did for four or eight years, or -- unimaginable but possible -- if he does worse, this could substantially push the human race and most vertebrates toward
Earth could be Reptile & Below Land again, because a few more American adults voted [ ] than checked [ ].
Species very high on the tree are enthusiastically careening toward extinction already because of the relentlessly Nature-Hostile and Science-Ignorant Bush administration. Because so little has been done over the last eight years to reverse or slow these trends, the ratio of the character and intent of the American presidency to the volume of potential, irreversible Earth Damage has never been higher.
He is our moment's Emperor of Rome. The concerns and displeasures of Rome influenced, impacted and often crucified and otherwise brutally annihilated hundreds of thousands of human beings from England to India. Expand the scope to the entire surface of the planet (and a little action in low-orbit space), and multiply the potential victims by perhaps a factor of 2000, and this is the modern shadow of the President of the United States.
The fundamental idea has not changed much. When a faraway region's developments are perceived to threaten the interests of Rome or Washington, Rome or Washington projects overwhelming military might to that region, and squashes everybody like bugs. Regime Change, Shock and Awe. Caesar decreed it, Bush grunts and signs off on it, and with this seal and signature, legions start to march, battalions board Hercules transports.
The United States seems to be this moment's military superpower capable of projecting decisive conventional force anywhere on Earth. (Skip, for the moment, that it doesn't seem to work very well anymore.)
China is mighty, but has chosen for this decade to cast its shadow over the world economically, with few and very limited military forays beyond contingent regions. China holds the paper on an enormous amount of U.S. public debt, and it is through these kinds of financial wars that it pursues and achieves its influence and interests. The President can no longer tell China to fuck off and die with the same unqualified patriotic gusto that he could in 1958. Without firing a shot, China can send a few e-mails, and 150,000 Americans are out of work, et sequelae; skyscrapers in financial centers go dark and are boarded up.
The ferocity, viciousness and sordidness of Election Thing 2008 is, astonishingly, nothing particularly unusual for American national politics. The vile toxic slime of national politics dates to George Washington's administration, and there are few, if any, subseqent election cycles remembered for daintiness, dignity and sportsmanship. Whispered accusations of bastard children, of candidates being part Negro, of having a Negro slave lover, are regular, even perpetual, nearly inevitable companions of presidential campaigns. They speak to our worst instincts, and apparently, we enjoy our worst instincts being whispered to.
The lack of restraint of 19th and 20th century campaigns are a good match for the commonly spammed accusation that Barack Hussein Obama is a secret Muslim waiting to pounce on Christian America with a radical Muslim agenda when he wins the White House.
If you have heard or received some really disgusting and entirely unproven or unverifiable smut about either presidential candidate -- sexual perversions, past criminal acts or acts of treason -- please Leave A Comment, and Agence-Vleeptron Presse will happily post it here. Good hot filthy smut about the wives and children of the candidates equally welcome.
Accusations of treason, or high treason, are usually rare in the political dialogue, but presidential campaign time is their season for flowering and blossoming anew and afresh; the American political tongue never gets so loosened as when the White House is being hotly contested. The buzz about Obama is that he was brainwashed, "Manchurian Candidate" style, as a little boy in an Indonesian madrasa. The rumor carries a prediction: Watch for his first secret sign, when he swears his presidential oath on the Koran. (Boo!)
Not to be outdone, POW McCain was psychologically broken and spilled all his miliitary secrets to his Communist torturers.
And worse, for both candidates. These are True Rumors. That is, I'm not making them up or inventing them; people have been vigorously spreading them around long before Agence-Vleeptron Presse mentioned them. You can probably get to them, and to worse, to hundreds of virulent paragraphs in huge font, with no more than 3 or 4 mouseclicks.
Much is at stake. Tempers are hot. Kick out the jams and go to the wall -- much of the worst attacks on the candidates emanate from the Faith Sphere, and ally the other candidate intimately with Satan; other candidates are the Chosen or the Beloved of God or of Jesus.
This is also the season when Satan and God, through their Earthly representatives, make rare personal appearances, and endorse specific candidates, condemn the other, and grant interviews to CNN and Fox to
clarify God's wishes and preferences.
While some are drawn into the political maelstrom and lose their cotton-pickin' minds entirely, others maintain a strategic pragmatism, and ask only: How can my candidate be assured of winning? What will bring in the votes in November?
Charles Black, a senior political adviser to McCain and bigtime Washington DC lobbyist, has let slip a comment in a Fortune magazine interview that a new terrorist attack on the USA between now and November would be a huge boost to John McCain, because McCain has been presenting himself to voters as the more experienced and tougher candidate for national security.
(In the image, that's Osama bin Laden toppling the World Trade Center. It's a cheap plastic toy manufactured in the Peoples Republic of China that ended up in bags of cheap toys sold in the USA. Another toy in the bag showed an airplane smashing into the WTC.)
So the election may hinge on what "October Surprise" the Secret Hidden Evil Boogeyman, Osama bin Laden, might cook up. If he likes McCain, he'll attack America, that'll put McC over the top with the voters; or so Mr. Black suggests.
Moving from the political influence of a bearded psycho hiding in a cave on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to an even more distant and hard-to-get-on-the-phone influence, James C. Dobson, founder of the right-wing evangelical Christian organization "Focus on the Family," has consulted God Himself, and God has told him that Obama's interpretations of Holy Scripture are totally wrong, heretical, blasphemous, and just plain bad for America. (Dobson also detests McCain, and may be hinting to his Holy Followers to vote None Of The Above.)
This is pretty much a standard continuation of Bush's "base" -- his wooing not all or most Christian voters, but specifically highly organized machines of ultra-conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, a bloc exemplified by Dobson's "Focus on the Family."
There aren't more of these than of more moderate Christian voters, but the Fundies pioneered political organizing from churches; they flexed their Sunday political muscle far earlier than, for example, Presbyterians did.
Moderate Protestants tend to be reluctant and hesitant about interfering with the American election machinery directly from the pulpit; they believe their strength, and America's strength, lie specifically in strict observance, in letter and spirit, of the separation of church and state expressed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
In other words, the Constitution tells the government not to fuck with churches, and some churches feel obligated to return the favor by scrupulously not fucking with secular political elections, by not dragging Holy Scripture and the Voice of God into the voting booth.
"Focus on the Family," and all who sail with her -- Bush's Fundie base -- feel otherwise. It's not that they interpret the First Amendment separation clause differently. It's that they want to get rid of it, to end separation of church and state entirely, and push for a Holy American New Jerusalem, a Christian theocracy, a Republic of Gilead. God tells them to.
In any case, if it's come down to McCain vs. Obama, surprise surprise, I'm voting Obama. Even if God specifically commands me not too. Even if the bearded terrorist cave spook pulls a nasty in October.
I can't take another four years of the crap the USA has had to endure under Bush, and let's face it -- President McCain is Bush's third term.
* * *
The New York Times
Wednesday 25 June 2008
Evangelical Leader Attacks
Obama on Religious Views
by Larry Rohter
Just days after Senator Barack Obama met quietly with religious leaders, including the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, another of the evangelical movement’s most prominent names, James C. Dobson, has sharply attacked Mr. Obama, accusing him of having “a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution” and twisting the meaning of both the Old and New Testaments.
“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology,” Mr. Dobson said Tuesday in one of the regular radio broadcasts for the group he leads, Focus on the Family.
“He’s some kind of biblical authority?” Mr. Dobson also asked.
Mr. Dobson’s remarks focused on a June 28, 2006, speech in which Mr. Obama, in Washington, mentioned passages from the Bible that he suggested were in conflict with present-day practices. Mr. Dobson made his criticisms shortly after Joshua Dubois, the Obama campaign’s religious affairs director, offered to meet with Focus on the Family leaders and suggested to some people that Mr. Dobson was nervous about Mr. Obama’s willingness to compete with Republicans for the evangelical vote.
“Young conservative evangelicals seem more open to Obama’s ‘Christian’ message of caring for the poor, fighting genocide, health care for all and climate change,” David Brody, senior national correspondent of the Christian Broadcasting Network, noted on Tuesday on the Web site after the radio program. “They also like the fact that he is reaching out to try and find common ground with conservative faith voters.”
One focus of Mr. Dobson’s objections was abortion, which provoked his attacks on Mr. Obama’s view of the Constitution. Mr. Obama, who supports abortion rights, wants “to go to the lowest common denominator of morality,” Mr. Dobson said, and impose “his bloody notion of what is right in regard to the rights of tiny babies.”
Mr. Dobson expressed particular irritation at a section of the speech in which Mr. Obama paired him with the Rev. Al Sharpton as an example of religious leaders with conflicting views. Mr. Dobson said he found the comparison with Mr. Sharpton, whom he considers an extremist, “offensive.”
Mr. Obama on Tuesday accused Mr. Dobson of reducing a complex subject to sound bites. “I do make the argument that it’s important for those like me who think that faith is important, that we try to translate that into a universal language,” he said.
Mr. Dobson also had hard words for Senator John McCain, whom he criticized early in the presidential campaign, saying at one point that he would stay at home rather than cast a vote for him. On Tuesday, Mr. Dobson complained that Mr. McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, had not spoken out energetically enough against same-sex marriage, referring specifically to a proposal in the Arizona Legislature that would ban such marriages.
“That is very disappointing,” he said.
Speaking of both candidates, he added, “They don’t give a hoot about the family.”
Michael Powell contributed reporting.
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* * *
Reuters (newswire, UK)
Monday 23 June 2008
September 11 comment
FRESNO, California (Reuters) -- A top adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain apologized on Monday after he was quoted as saying a September 11-type attack before the November election would benefit McCain.
"I deeply regret the comments, they were inappropriate," Charlie Black said in a statement after McCain said that if Black had made such a comment, "I strenuously disagree" with it.
"I recognize that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country and placing its security before every other consideration," said Black, one of McCain's most trusted political advisers.
Fortune magazine said Black, in discussing how national security was McCain's strong suit, had said when asked about another terrorist attack on U.S. soil that "certainly it would be a big advantage to him."
A McCain campaign official said Black did not remember making the particular comment but did not dispute the characterization.
The official said Black was speaking in the context that any day on the campaign trail that the theme was national security, was a good day for McCain.
McCain, asked about the magazine article at the news conference, did not sound familiar with it.
"I cannot imagine why he would say it. It's not true," McCain said, adding he had worked hard since the September 11 attack to prevent another such attack.
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(Reporting by Steve Holland and Deborah Charles; Editing by Peter Cooney)
* * *
The Guardian (daily newspaper, UK)
Tuesday 24 June 2008
Charles Black profile:
McCain's controversial strategist
Work with African dictator and Ferdinand Marcos earned McCain strategist a reputation as master of dark arts of political lobbying
[photo:] Charlie Black, campaign adviser to the Republican presidential hopeful John McCain
For someone who prides himself as a political maverick, John McCain has picked as his chief strategist a Washington insider who is a master of the dark arts of political lobbying.
Since he joined the McCain presidential campaign in March after quitting his job as chairman of lobbying firm BKSH & Associates Charles Black has drawn fire from Democrats.
That may well be a backhanded tribute to Black's effectiveness as a political operative, who comes from the hard right of the Republican party.
The 60-year-old from North Carolina said he fell in love with politics at high school during Barry Goldwater's campaign for the presidency in 1964. Although he was too conservative for the American electorate then, Goldwater laid the seeds for Ronald Reagan's successful run for the White House 20 years later.
Black became a political activist early on. He was political director of Young Americans for Freedom, founding chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee. Black went on to work for an ultra-conservative, Jesse Helms, during his first senate campaign in 1972, and then became political director of the Republican national committee, where he worked closely with the legendary Lee Atwater, the Karl Rove of his day, also known as the Darth Vader of the Republican party.
What sticks in the craw of Democrats as much as Black's impeccable hard-right credentials is his lobbying during the 1980s, when his list of clients was a who's who list of unsavoury leaders seeking favours from the White House and Capitol Hill.
Most notably, Black worked on behalf of Jonas Savimbi whose Unita movement waged a brutal guerrilla campaign against the Cuban-backed Angolan government in the 1980s.
According to US justice department records, Black's lobbying firm spent lavishly to ensure congressional and White House support for Savimbi. The contract between Black's firm and Savimbi in 1985 was worth $600,000.
Black and his partners also lobbied on behalf of Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine president, who was overthrown by a popular revolt, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, one of the world's most corrupt dictators, and President Mohamed Siad Barre of Somali, another dictator who was eventually overthrown.
Black is unrepentant about his 30 years in lobbying. He told the Washington Post recently that his firms never represented foreigners "without first talking to the state department and the White House and clearing with them that the work would be in the interest of US foreign policy".
He said he worked for Marcos when the US considered the Philippine leader an ally. But "when the White House pulled the plug on Marcos, we resigned the account the same day."
As for Mobutu, Black said his firm was hired to help show the Zairean leader how to form political parties and conduct elections, and when Mobutu cancelled the results of a parliamentary election, "we quit".
Black's past associations with dictators have provided his critics with plenty of material to criticise not just Black but by association, John McCain.
Black's remarks to Fortune magazine that a terrorist attack on US soil would be a "big advantage" to McCain's election campaign may seem a no-brainer behind closed doors among hard-nosed political strategists. Out in the open, they seem a tad insensitive, even for McCain himself, who had to distance himself from the remarks.
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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008